Can students be forced to stand while other students recite the Pledge?

No, two courts have held that students cannot be forced to stand while other students recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In Goetz v. Ansell (1973) and Lipp v. Morris (1978), the 2nd and 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively, ruled that public school students could not be forced to stand silently while other students recited the Pledge. The 2nd Circuit in Goetz explained: “The alternative offered plaintiff of standing in silence is an act that cannot be compelled over his deeply held convictions. It can no more be required than the Pledge itself.”

Additionally, the 11th Circuit in July 2008 (Frazier v. Winn) found that a “standing at attention” clause in Florida law violated the First Amendment. However, the panel left the rest of the state statute intact, refusing to strike down part of it that allows students to be excused from reciting the Ppledge only by written request of their parent. In October 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case, as had the full 11th Circuit earlier.

Category: Freedom of Speech

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